BluRay/DVD Reviews

BAD BIOLOGY

By • Feb 9th, 2010 •

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BAD BIOLOGY marks the comeback for Frank Henenlotter, the unique director behind such cult classics as BASKET CASE (and it’s sequels), BRAIN DAMAGE, and FRANKENHOOKER. As with most cult classics, those titles either mean a lot to you, or you just laughed out loud that there is actually a film called FRANKENHOOKER.

Jennifer (Charlee Danielson) is born with seven clits. Her biological excess makes her a nymphomaniac. She takes home a different guy every night looking for sexual fulfillment. Being that she is something of a superwoman, she also conceives, gets pregnant, and gives birth within an hour or two. She leaves her newborns to die in the dumpster, insisting that they aren’t “real babies”, but “unfinished freak babies”.

She is convinced she is a step forward in evolution and that God made her this way because He eventually wants to have sex with her.

Meanwhile, Batz (Anthony Sneed) a shy young man, has a problem of his own. His penis has become a monster and has taken on a mind of its own as a result of shooting it up with steroids when he was a teen. Now he pumps it full of the most powerful drugs he can find just to get it to stop swinging around in his pants. He also communicates with it telepathically.

Oh yea, and it can detach itself and run amok.

I was really loving BAD BIOLOGY when Jennifer was our protagonist. I was hooked from the beginning. It didn’t matter how far over-the-top her story went, I bought it. Not only did it make me laugh and gross me out, but it also disturbed me. I had never seen anything like it before.

…Then the Batz segment started.

Everything that works in Jennifer’s segment falls flat in Batz’s. When Jennifer delivers her voice over it’s intriguing. Like a silly variation on Cronenberg’s body horror themes. When she breaks the fourth wall it’s challenging. She involves us in her decisions, which makes it all the more disturbing, while still maintaining a sense of humor. Not an easy feat.

When Batz’s story is explained, It feels like forced exposition coupled with lame jokes. I didn’t buy it for a minute, and unlike Charlee Danielson, his acting doesn’t help sell it.

Eventually the two characters meet, and it’s another blown opportunity. We don’t get nearly enough time with these two freaks of nature because a good portion of the final act is occupied by a montage of the penis crawling around the city breaking into women’s homes. It starts off amusing but after the third victim it grows tiresome (I think there are five). I never thought I’d say this, but once you’ve seen one woman getting screwed by a detached monster penis, you’ve seen them all. (Although the women were all of different races, which makes me wonder, is this Henenlotter’s way of being politically correct?)

Unfortunately, the movie seems to be loaded with prolonged scenes in order to meet feature length running time. There’s a conversation between Jennifer and her boss which should be on the cutting room floor, as well as a scene in which a crackhead (Eleanor Hendricks) crawls around the living room of a drug dealer’s apartment looking for something…Incidentally, this bit part was one of the best performances in the whole movie, and seems to be improvised. Still, it’s obvious filler.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Henenlotter has not gotten soft during his sixteen-year hiatus (that wasn’t intended as a pun, but what the hell). While not nearly as tight and endlessly entertaining as BRAIN DAMAGE (1988), I can definitely say it’s more bizarre than anything he’s ever done, and above all its heart is in the right place. He even shot on 35mm as opposed to digital, and used mostly stop motion special FX over CG. For a low budget horror movie in the modern age, this is almost unheard of (although BRAIN DAMAGE also has better stop-motion)

BAD BIOLOGY is the closest you’re ever going to get to the old school exploitation days of yesteryear. And for that, fans will be pleased. There are a couple of scenes that stand out, mostly with Jennifer, but there is also a great bit with Batz and a prostitute where she can’t stop having an orgasm hours after sex.

The DVD is decent. As mentioned before there is a commentary by Henenlotter and co-writer/producer RA the Rugged Man Thorburn (he’s a rapper) that is pretty informative. After listening to the stories of the production, I was surprised to find that even though he is a director with many credits to his name, he’s still ditching permits and shooting guerilla, casting friends and people off Craigslist, and shooting in their own houses. Any film student or independent filmmaker can relate to this.

Aside from the commentary there are a couple of music videos for RA the Rugged Man. one of them is directed by Henenlotter and manages to be even more vulgar and repulsive than BAD BIOLOGY. I wonder if they even bothered sending it to MTV? If so, they should have added the response letters in the special features.

Despite its inconsistencies, I can recommend this film to anybody who enjoys extreme cinema, “midnight movies”, or comedies that push the boundaries of bad taste. Fans of John Waters will have a lot of fun with it. Watch it with friends and see their jaws drop. I had to pick mine up off the floor a couple times, and for me that always counts for quite a bit.

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